Thank you for your coverage of local elections, particularly the profiles of candidates for St. Joseph offices, including mayor, city council, and school board. I’m writing to endorse Zach Dorholt, Natalie (Ringsmuth) Copeland, and Heather Weems for this year’s District 742 school board.
The results of this year’s school board election could truly determine whether we have a functioning school board or one marked by distraction and chaos, as is happening in neighboring districts. The school board needs to be focused on their primary duties: overseeing the superintendent and working to provide teaching and learning support that results in student success.
I am very proud of ISD 742. This school district is rich in multiple types of diversity. About 25% of students speak more than one language. The district includes rural and urban schools and serves more than 9,000 students. Many students face important challenges, including economic insecurity. The schools also benefit from partnerships with local colleges and universities. District 742 schools offer immersion programs, honors and advanced placement tracks, and a variety of quality extra-curricular and sports opportunities.
Yet, school board members, teachers, and administrators are facing a high level of harassment over CRT, Critical Race Theory. It is actually an academic discipline used in law schools and other advanced degree programs.
However, the term has become weaponized against curriculum in K-12 schools, as these folks often claim that talking about the realities faced by people of color is aimed at making white students feel bad instead of promoting compassion or stripping white people of their history rather than revealing that history is complex. In a bordering district, the attacks and disruption have become so bad that the district has lost both school board members and staff members.
I have seen many signs throughout St. Joseph promoting the candidacy of Nicole Rierson, Mike Bueckers, and Theresa Carlstedt. I believe these candidates, if elected, will bring divisiveness and chaos, distraction and harmful rhetoric, into District 742. They are not the right choice for St. Cloud School Board.
I encourage voters to cast their ballots for Zach Dorholt, a former member of the state legislature and proven member of the school board seeking reelection; Natalie Copeland, also seeking reelection; and Heather Weems, running for the first time. All three have children in the district and are committed to the mission and vision of District 742 schools.